DNR investigating a black bear found dead in Elkhart County

ELKHART COUNTY, Ind -- A black bear was found dead on the side of state road 15 earlier this week.

The Department of Natural Resources say this bear was found around 11 a.m. and quickly caused a stir.

"It was near the toll road so it may have been hit," said DNR Mammologist Brad Westrich.

Officials say the bear is currently going through a necropsy to determine the cause of death. Westrich believes the decomposition of the bear could make things difficult.

"Black bears being very dark furred animals out in the sun, the decomposition can happen rather quickly with them when they perish. So, depending on how much is decomposed inside, it may limit what we find out," said Westrich.

Spectators and community members say after seeing the bear in Michiana, they believe there's concern on how many more bears will be seen in Indiana.

Officials say that this is the first black bear sighting in northern Indiana since 2015, and the fifth sighting since 1871.

"It was kind of interesting and I had a bunch of family members like, no way, you’re pulling our chains, and I’m like, I kind of wish I was," said one anonymous resident.

"It’s to be expected to happen more regularly in our future. We have expanding black bear populations in states neighboring Indiana. So, Michigan has a black bear population, as well as Kentucky and Missouri. And as these black bear populations grow and expand, its to be expected that states such as Indiana may see more roaming black bears in our future," said Westrich.

As of now, the DNR expects the necropsy for the final determination of the bear's death, to be complete by the end of the week.

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